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All across the Delta State, students, alumni, and visiting college sports fans are gearing up for another great season of NCAA sports. Whether you’ve got hoops fever, football on the mind, or if nothing sounds better than baseball in the summer, check out the beloved Mississippi athletics programs spread across the state.
Known as the birthplace of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley, Tupelo features plenty of big city buzz coupled with small town charm and heritage.
Even better, Tupelo is only a short drive away from Oxford, home of the University of Mississippi Rebels.
The UM Rebels are the pride of northern MS, and come fall, there’s no place like Vaught Hemingway Stadium, home of the Rebels football team, on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
If football isn’t your game, fear not; the Ole Miss Rebels field 18 varsity teams, including high-flying hoops at the Pavilion at Ole Miss and championship-caliber baseball at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
All Ole Miss sports teams compete in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) against instate rivals, the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Be sure to pack some navy blue and red and the Ole Miss faithful sing “Forward Rebels.”
After the game, check out the local history in Tupelo featured at landmark sites like the Tupelo National Battlefield and Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site. Both come highly recommend for first-time Tupelo travelers.
For some outdoor adventure, make the short trip to Tombigbee State Park, set just southeast of town. The park houses a modest 40 acres nestled alongside Lake Lee, offering a nature trail, picnic area, and more.
Other a-plus amentities at Tombigbee include the children's playground, on-site grills, and, for the sports enthusiasts and those active adventurers, disc golf and regular golf courses. So there's plenty of ways to get outdoors in Tupelo.
From Tupelo, make the short drive south along US-45 into Columbus, “The Friendly City,” where you’ll find historic attractions like the Tennessee Williams Home, and high-octane fun at Columbus Speedway and Magnolia Motor Speedway.
For college sports fans in central MS, it’s all about Mississippi State University Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are longtime conference rivals of the Ole Miss Rebels to the north, and consistently one of the top teams in the SEC, garnering die-hard fandom in Columbus.
Fielding 17 varsity squads, including baseball, men and women’s basketball, tennis, and softball, the Bulldogs are must-see action in central MS.
And like many other southern cities, it’s all about football. The MSU Bulldogs are a highly decorated football program, consistently packing the stands at Davis Wade Stadium.
If you’re ready to do as the locals do in Columbus, set your sights on the Historic Downtown District, where a collection of specialty shops, local restaurants, and historic buildings line the sidewalks of Main Street.
Explore Columbus’ scenery by spending some time at Lake Lowndes State Park, set along the Mississippi-Alabama border. The park, which boasts over 150 acres of aquatic fun on Lowndes Lake, also offers nearly 10 miles of nature trails.
Tour two of the state’s smaller schools by taking a quick detour west from Columbus to the neighboring communities of Greenwood and Indianola, easily reachable via US-82.
In Greenwood, our first stop, residents love cheering on the Mississippi Valley State Devils, longtime members of the Division I Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).
Then, only about 30 minutes west of Greenwood still on US-82, the Delta State University Statesmen and Lady Statesmen compete in the Division II Gulf South Conference.
Get back on track and head south along Interstate 55. In just a few short hours, you’ll be arriving Jackson, the capital of MS, and home of Jackson State University.
This cultural hot bed isn’t short on sports fandom – check out JSU Tigers football this season at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Tiger’s raucous home field in the fall, often draped in blue, white, and grey.
Other campus sports venues include the Williams Assembly Center and the Jackson State University Baseball Stadium, home to the men and women’s basketball teams and the baseball and softball squads, receptively.
All told, the SWAC members field a collection of championship teams, including former College World Series champs, and previous SWAC conference football champs.
Among the many fun things to do in Jackson, locals will point you to downtown for an evening of fun. Enjoy an evening at the Michigan Theatre, take in a Downtown Jackson Walking Tour to see the sites, or plan your trip around an awesome Jackson festival, like the How Bazaar Jackson and CeltiFest Mississippi.
Just northwest of downtown, Lefleur’s Bluff State Park shows off Jackson’s natural beauty, nestled alongside the Pearl River, split by Eubanks Creek. Bring the whole family and enjoy the wide-open 300 acres, Mayes Lake, and Lefleur’s Bluff Golf Couse.
From Jackson, hop on US-49 and make the quick journey to Hattiesburg, home of NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre, and his alma matter, the University of Southern Mississippi.
Speaking of Southern Miss, don’t miss your chance to cheer on the Golden Eagles and Lady Eagles and take in a game at one of the handful of state-of-the-art sports venues.
The Golden Eagles football team, for instance, plays home games at M.M. Roberts Stadium against Conference USA rivals all autumn long. Be sure to don some black and gold before taking your seat at 'The Rock' this fall.
Other teams include the men and women’s basketball squad, whom heat Reed Green Coliseum during the winter months with thunderous dunks and lights-out shooting. Similarly, during the spring, it’s all about Golden Eagles baseball at Pete Taylor Park.
After you seen some Eagles action, see what local charm Hattiesburg has to offer. For a drink, you’ll want to check out Southern Prohibition Brewing on Mobile Street near downtown. If you’re looking to experience the cultural side of Hattiesburg, both the African American Military History Museum and the All-American Rose Garden are must-sees.
The southern MS city is known for its warm and wet climate, and dense hardwood forests. But don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself at Paul B. Johnson State Park, situated along the northern edge of the Desoto National Forest.
Bulldogs Bulldoze the Competition
When visiting northern Mississippi, keep an eye out for maroon and white, because you'll surely see quite a bit.
The Mississippi State University Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs boast 16 varsity college teams in the town of Starkville.
Sports fans flock from neighboring towns of Columbus, Greenwood, and Canton to catch the Bulldogs bulldoze the competition.
The Bulldogs compete in most major sports, however, they're primarily known across the nation for their outstanding football program.
If you're visiting northern Mississippi this fall, do yourself a favor and take in a Bulldogs football game. They play home games every Saturday from August to December at Davis Wade Stadium. Join 61,337 other fans this fall, as the Bulldogs compete for another SEC title against fierce in-state rivals, the Ole Miss Rebels.
Winter MS visitors, it may be cool outside, but the Bulldogs are lighting it up inside. Witness the Bulldog and Lady Bulldog's basketball teams put on a clinic in the SEC, each earning multiple appearances in the NCAA "March Madness" Tournament. Catch the "madness" this winter from November to March at the Humphrey Coliseum.
Spring time in Mississippi usually means marvelous magnolias, but it also means Bulldog baseball, and rightfully so. Both the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs swing and slide their way through the SEC from February to June.
The Bulldogs play home games at Dudy Noble Stadium, where they have made frequent appearances in the NCAA tournament and College World Series. Likewise, the Lady Bulldogs have also frequented the The Big Dance, playing home games at Mississippi State Softball Stadium.
As if that wasn’t' enough, Mississippi State University, through the University Rec Sports office, offers a plethora of Club Sports to fans and players alike. Sports like rugby, men's ice hockey, soccer, fencing, paintball, yoga, and more are available year-round.
So put on your maroon and white and cheer on the Bulldogs no matter what time of year.
The Delta Devils & Jackson Tigers
Central Mississippi is home to two universities – the Jackson State Tigers and the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils.
Both teams compete in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in most Division I college sports.
Neighboring regions like Canton, Indianola, Yazoo City, and Vicksburg continuously make the short journey year round for the thrilling action.
The Jackson State Tigers have maintained a wonderful football tradition since their inaugural season in 1956. The Tigers play home at games at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium – with a capacity of over 60,000.
Head north of Jackson to the charming town of Itta Bena, home of the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils and the alma matter of pro football hall of famer, Jerry Rice. The Delta Devils also compete in the SWAC, playing home games at Rice-Totten Field.
Although Rice-Totten Field has a much smaller capacity of just 10,000, that hasn't stopped the passionate Delta Devil fan base from creating an electric atmosphere on Saturdays. Be a part of central Mississippi's college football tradition this fall from August to December.
College hoops are alive and well in Itta Bena and Jackson from November to March, and visitors are sure to catch the "madness" as well. The Delta Devils run the hardwood in the SWAC at Harrison HPER Complex, where they have made multiple NCAA Tournament appearances and won several conference tournament championships as well.
However, if forest green and white are not your colors, you can head south to the capital city of Jackson, home of the Jackson State Tigers. Donning royal blue and white, the men and women's teams play home games at Williams Assembly Center – featuring a raucous home crowd of roughly 8,000, helping them make numerous NCAA Tournament appearances.
Both central Mississippi schools play hard when it comes to baseball as well, and spring time is the perfect time to catch an NCAA baseball game. Check out Bradley Field, where the Jackson State Tigers out-hustle all challengers from February to June. The Division I ball park was opened in 2006 and seats 800 baseball fans.
Likewise, the Delta Devils of Itta Bena tattoo fastballs at Magnolia Field, where they go head-to-head with fellow SWAC baseball clubs during the spring.
Golden Eagles Soaring Above the Competition
If you're visiting southern Mississippi anytime soon, you'll surely feel the need to "go gold!" The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, or simply Southern Miss, are one of the top contenders in Conference USA in most Division I varsity sports. Visit Hattiesburg and catch "Eagle fever, anyone. Anywhere. Anytime."
Featuring a 36,000 seating capacity, M.M. Roberts Stadium becomes a raucous home field advantage for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles football team every Saturday from August to December.
The stadium opened in 1932 and has gone through a variety of renovations and modernizations to ensure a comforting game day experience – but not for the visiting team!
The Golden Eagles are winners of multiple conference titles, national championships, and helped produce NFL Hall of Fame players like Ray Guy and Brett Favre. Catch a Golden Eagle game this fall when they take on their long time, in-state rivals, the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
With over a century of tradition, the Golden Eagles are the pride of Hattiesburg basketball and winners of multiple conference tournaments. Although they may not have as many traditional accolades their in-state peers might, they certainly have enough passionate basketball fans to pack Reed Green Coliseum every winter. Visit Hattiesburg from November to March and help cheer the Golden Eagles and Lady Golden Eagles back to the NCAA tournament this spring.
Speaking of spring, the Golden Eagles baseball team throws out the season's first pitch in February and run the bases until late June. Come out to Pete Taylor Park and catch (no pun intended) a Southern Miss baseball game as they strike out the competition in Conference USA.
You'll certainly find that the weather in southern Mississippi and surrounding regions is ideal for a ball game. So much so, that sports fans travel from Laurel and Wiggins along Interstate 59 to be a part of the action. So, grab your glove, black and gold, and root, root, root for the home team.
SEC Football, Basketball, Baseball & More
Oxford, MS, home of the "Ole Miss" Rebels, is a mecca for top-tier, NCAA action. The Rebels boast 18 varsity teams – the most Division I teams of any school in the state.
Northern Mississippi, Tupelo, and Ripley visitors make the short journey to University of Mississippi for year round, action-packed college sports.
You may already be aware of this, but sports fans really love their football. Luckily, the Rebels have plenty of pigskin pride to go around.
Visit Vaught-Hemingway Stadium during the scenic, fall months of August to December and cheer on the Rebels football team.
The Rebels play in the ultra-competitive SEC, winning multiple conference and national championships since their inaugural season in 1890. The stadium seats over 60,000 cardinal red and navy blue passionate fans on Saturdays, and invites you to join them in singing "Hotty Toddy," the school's long time fight song. Better yet, help the rebels defeat their in-state rivals, the Mississippi State University Bulldogs, when they go head-to-head in the annual Egg Bowl.
Likewise, America's pastime is deeply rooted in the Magnolia State. Be sure to catch the men's baseball team dominate the SEC competition during the months of February to June at Oxford-University Stadium.
The Rebels baseball team has made over 10 NCAA tournament appearances, won multiple conference titles, and competed in the College World Series numerous times. Help the Rebels make their way back to the tournament this spring as they swing for the fences.
Basketball fans can certainly attest – as far as electrifying game day experiences go, it doesn't get much better than NCAA basketbal. Don't miss out on the high-flying hoops at Tad Smith Coliseum during your winter Mississippi visit.
The men and women's Rebel squads shoot and slam their way through the SEC during the months of November to March, culminating in an appearance at The Big Dance – the NCAA "March Madness" Tournament. Both teams have made multiple appearances in the tournament since their inception.
Other Ole Miss varsity sports include the likes of tennis, volleyball, track and field, and more. Pack your navy blue and cardinal red and be a part of the action.